Feature Stories

From Trains to TIE Fighters in PowerDirector

Growing up in Hungary, János Scheffer's father worked as a projectionist in a local cinema. This meant that he had the chance to watch almost all of the movies released throughout the seventies and eighties. Today, János works as an IT professional in Hungary, and his hobbies include photography, caving, and modeling railways. However, the experience of so many movies in his childhood has stayed with him, and has allowed him to combine video creation and editing with his other interests.

An interesting crossover between the hobbies is the filming and video creation of model railroad scenes. By using an elaborate diorama setup, vintage photos, and carefully selected digital effects in PowerDirector, János creates entertaining videos that simultaneously tell a story and teach the history of locomotives and train cars in the Deutsche Reisebahn era of the early 20th century.

The Orient-express British-part demonstrates authentic-looking Bachmann A2 locomotive and Pullmann-cars departing from London and arriving in Dover.

But János' video creativity does not end with model railroads. Two of his children, aged five and seven, are huge Star Wars fans. This is certainly not unusual for children their age. However, most kids have to settle for video games or toys if they want a Star Wars experience beyond just watching the movies. János had a different idea.

"It was on the Christmas holiday when everyone was on vacation and we had more time. We decided to make our own Star Wars movie, with the children as the actors. They were very enthusiastic, and all I had to do was find way to deliver the Star Wars themed objects and effects in the final production." he explains.

By searching online, János found hundreds of green screen effects and vocal content which could be downloaded and used since his project was for non-profit purposes. After importing the desired effects into PowerDirector, it was not difficult at all for him to use the chroma key effect for compositing the visual objects into single clips.

New Jedi Knights on the Scene

The children did not find the filming too demanding, and they were very happy with the final result. The total working time was approximately six days and nights using the newly purchased PowerDirector 13 Ultimate, with most of that time being spent adding the postproduction effects.

The Force is strong in this one!

As an artist, film buff, and video editor, János believes there are a couple of simple elements that creators should keep in mind when editing: "In my experience, good cuts, surprising viewpoints and great music that really helps enhance the content of each scene are all important. Of course, you have to have a good original story, something that will keep people in front of the screen."

As for his choice of video editing software, János says that PowerDirector is his choice because "Most importantly is that it is extremely easy to use. Secondly, there is a good set of various tools that help an editor create almost anything that he can imagine. From my viewpoint, the PIP objects included with PowerDirector are useful for certain kinds of work, but for my projects I get the best use out of publicly available green screen footage."

Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?

For others who want make their own video stories, János offers some ideas on how to get started: "First, create a good, short and somehow original story. Second, collect as many green screen effects as you can, and creating enough video footage of your own so that you have enough material to choose from. You can make your own small green screen studio at home to create necessary effects when they are not available elsewhere."

As regards editing techniques and styles, János says aspiring creators should watch professional films closely, observe what the cameraman and director are doing in a specific shot, and then try to replicate it on your own. János end with encouragement for all: "Your first video will not be the best, but your skill and your projects will only get better and better."

StarWars Tapio Special Edition

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